A wacky video game about throwing people off the roof is a hit in China thanks to viral videos on Douyin–South China Morning Post

What happened: Indie mobile game Party.io became the most-downloaded free game by Chinese Apple App Store users after videos of gameplay went viral on Douyin, known as TikTok overseas. Somewhat like Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros., the English-only app features cartoonish figures attempting to pick up and throw each other out of a combat arena. After videos of play battles caught the attention of Douyin viewers, Party.io surged past PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in popularity. The app is also a hit in over 20 other countries, not including the US.

Why it’s important: The rapid rise of Party.io has mainly been attributed to its popularity on China’s hottest live-streaming app. Chinese news articles refer to Party.io as the “Douyin throwing people game,” and a Baidu search for the app name alone also brings up references to Douyin. The English-language game’s massive surge in popularity thanks to Douyin is perhaps unprecedented, and speaks to the influence of the short-video app, which has 500 million active users. Whether the game can keep up its momentum among users eager for novelty remains to be seen, however.

Bailey Hu is based in China’s hardware capital, Shenzhen. Her interests include local maker culture, grassroots innovation and how tech shapes society, as well as vice versa.

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